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Close-Up is a graduate reading group for the discussion of film aesthetics in a relaxed online setting. Our name is taken from Abbas Kiarostami's mysterious 1990 film, whose visual storytelling tempts close formal analysis—a fitting name if any.

The premise of the group is that every eight weeks there will be a session focused on a given film, as chosen by a member of the group (on rotation). In advance of the session, all members are asked to view the film and select a formal element to bring to the discussion (members need not have a great deal to say about their chosen element, but might instead wish to bring it up as an object of curiosity). For example, if the film was Rope by Alfred Hitchcock, one might choose to focus on the use of props or lighting. Or, one might instead be drawn to a more subtle aspect, such as a film's overall rhythm or dramatic resonance. Of course, bringing in scholarship is always welcome, but by no means expected. Sometimes the most endearing qualities of a film are not especially academic or technical; it might be the way flowers sift through a breeze, or a glance between characters. Taken together, the selections will form a loose structure for the conversation.

The motivation behind Close-Up is to carve out a non-professional space for the communal evaluation and enjoyment of reading films aesthetically. There are no prerequisites, only a desire to immerse in the pleasures of a formalist approach to a range of films, canonical or otherwise.

Founding co-convenors:

Jessica Moore, PhD student (University of Cambridge)

Numertha Geisinger, PhD student (University of Cambridge)


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